Rabbis Urge Obama to Negotiate with Cuba over Alan Gross

Alan Gross

HAVANA TIMES — Three hundred rabbis asked President Barack Obama today to negotiate with the Cuban authorities for the “immediate release” of Alan Gross, the US agent sentenced in Cuba to 15 years in prison for endangering the island’s security.

“Alan went to Cuba on behalf of the US government. His immediate release and return to the United States should be a priority for our nation,” said the rabbis, who were concerned that “Gross has been rotting for five years ago in a Cuban prison.”

The Rabbis urged Obama to “take all steps necessary to ensure a quick end to the ongoing nightmare that Alan and his family live.”

The letter was made public days after Gross’s lawyer Scott Gilbert made it known that his client had fallen into deep depression and was refusing to receive most visitors.

Gross’s family fears Alan’s life is in danger due to the “deterioration of his physical and emotional health.”

Gilbert claimed that Gross “has lost most of the vision in his right eye, can barely walk and has stopped exercising.”

The lawyer says the emotional health of Gross also declined sharply, following the death of his mother, on June 18.

His wife, Judy Gross said her last visit to her husband was “traumatic” given his strong physical deterioration and the fact that he bid farewell to her and their daughter.

“I implore the governments of the United States and Cuba do what is human and let Alan come home,” asked Judy Gross.

Alan Gross, 65, was arrested in December 2009 in Havana after bringing to the island telecommunications equipment prohibited by the Cuban authorities, allegedly to give to political opponents of the Castro regime. A court found him guilty and sentenced him to 15 years in prison on charges of encouraging “acts against the integrity” of the state.

Gross worked for Development Alternatives Inc., a USAID contractor in numerous hot spots around the globe such as Iraq and Afghanistan. He said that the equipment was designed only to facilitate Internet access to the small Jewish community in Cuba. Gross had made several trips to Cuba working undercover before he was detained by the authorities.

Havana has repeatedly reiterated its offer to negotiate a possible swap of Gross for the three remaining “Cuban Five” prisoners, held since 1998 in the US on charges of espionage. Washington refuses thus far to link the cases.

The Cuban Five were sentenced to long prison terms; although two have returned to the island after having served out their sentences.

7 thoughts on “Rabbis Urge Obama to Negotiate with Cuba over Alan Gross

  • Not even Amnesty International is buying into US propaganda this time. Never have they questioned the proceedings against Gross. Never have they adopted him as prisoner of conscience or even called for his release. They have, however, repeatedly condemned the travesty of justice in the case of The Five. A prisoner swap is the only moral alternative for the US regime.

  • You have absolutely no evidence to that effect…there is no basis in fact for your assertions. And while you babble on about what you merely ASSUME is true, nothing will change and Alan Gross will die in Cuba. The US government’s inaction to do what is morally right under the circumstances is appalling.

  • Mr. Downey, the only reason that Alan Gross is in jail is to enable President Raul Castro Ruz to use him as a bargaining chip. Do you approve of such a lack of morality? After so many years of the regime nation wide publicity program for release of “the FIve”, the Cuban public anticipated that the Castro ploy would succeed – it hasn’t and failure to succeed is a bone in the throat for the Castros. Dictators are accustomed to getting their own way! To them this is much more than a hill of beans.

  • Not at all, I just know that Raul won’t release Alan Gross without your government offering to trade for him in return. The same could be said of your government….why don’t they simply release the 3 remaining Cubans first, no strings attached? Of course you would say that’s ridiculous…and I would agree with you. Raul has offered to do a trade…I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to take him up on his offer and let by-gones be by-gones. Moses, in the grand scheme of things it’s not going to mean a hill a beans difference to anyone in America or around the world. Tit for tat, and that’s that. Done deal. Everyone goes home and everyone is happy. And we can all then turn the page to a new chapter and move on.

  • If you share a genuine concern for Mr. Gross’ welfare, it would seem that you should be open to ALL possible solutions to this tragedy. Yet, you seem blind to the most direct and simplest solution. Why are you so impassionate to the possibility that Raul simply lets Mr. Gross go home. No strings attached. Why must his release be tied to the three Cuban spies. It is your conscience that seems clouded with political motivations.

  • In the mean time, US inaction still assures that Mr. Gross will die in Cuba. That should be your government’s main concern. It’s immoral for your government to ignore the available solution presented. Given that your government seems quite content to place more value on the continued incareration of 3 Cubans over the life and death plight of 1 American, your conscience is obviously clear as you absolve your government (and yourself) of all responsibility. How quaint. I’m surprised that Alan and his family aren’t more content to take one for the team.

  • Raul Castro is totally in control of Mr. Gross’ fate. Should Mr. Gross die while being held hostage in the Soviet-style and funded prison hospital ward, his blood will be on Castro hands. It is immoral to connect his fate to the release of the three convicted Cuban spies. Surely the Castros realize that Gross’ death would set back US Cuban relations. This has absolutely no impact on Obama, who will never face another election but will further delay the thaw in US Cuban relations that the Cuban people badly need to survive.

Comments are closed.